Way back in 2009, one of my first food posts was for an apple crostata. I just ran into a friend at church this weekend who told me she has been using that recipe for all kinds of crostatas for years. I thought it was about time to dust off this recipe and make sure it was fresh. My biggest surprise was what a terrible picture I took of this wonderfully simple dessert. I’ve never been much of a food photographer (that’s my sister Michele’s speciality), but I could certainly do better. And with peach season still in full force here in California, it was high time I posted an end-of-summer peach crostata.
Peaches are probably my favorite summer fruit. I have to believe it’s because, as a kid, everyone we knew in our small town of mostly Italian immigrants soaked yellow peaches in white wine in the summer. The adults would drink the flavored white wine ice cold and the kids would get the occasional soaked peach. I fondly remember this from summer picnics and parties on warm summer nights.
Crostata is a super-simple dessert to make. There are only a few secrets. First, don’t let your butter warm up. If after you cut it into cubes, it’s a little melty, put them back into the fridge to chill. And second, roll out your dough with lots of flour on both sides and do it fast! It you take too long, the butter will melt and the dough will be impossible to handle. If this happens, put it back in the fridge to chill and repeat.
Enjoy your crostata regardless of what fruit you use! Besides peaches, you can use peeled apples, berries or trimmed strawberries — whatever is in season.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ pound (one stick) very cold unsalted butter
- Ice water
- 3 large semi-ripe peaches
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter
- Juice of a ½ lemon
- The white of 1 egg
- Cold water
- Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse once. Remove the butter from the refrigerator just before using and slice the one stick of butter into small cubes. Pulse the food processor until the mixture is the size of small peas (about 15 times). Then while the food processor is running, very slowly pour the ice water through the spout until the dough forms a ball. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in wax paper and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Cut the the butter into small cubes and add to a medium bowl. Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl and combine all the ingredients. Slice each peach into eighths. Add the peach slices to the flour-butter mixture and toss. Add the lemon juice and stir until all the ingredients are combined, with no lemon juice at the bottom of the bowl.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Add flour to the surface of the dough. Flatten the dough out into a round disk. Roll out into a large circle with a rolling pin. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or the rolling surface, add more flour. Transfer the rolled out dough to the baking sheet.
- Spoon the peach mixture into the center of the dough. Fold up the dough around the filling in a pleat pattern. Press lightly to seal. Make an egg wash by lightly whisking together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of cold water. Brush the egg wash on the crostata's dough with the pastry brush.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Check after about 10 minutes of baking. If the crostata is browning too fast, place a piece of aluminum foil over the crostata. Cool the crostata to room temperature, then slice and serve.
- Food processor
- Pastry brush (buy the new silicon brushes)
- Baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat